Ruhiyyih Wittwer is an English Teacher at CHS for freshmen and sophomores, including those of the Integrated Arts and Academics (IAA) program. She answered a number of “get to know you” style questions as part of a new series for the Camasonian “Get to Know”. The purpose of the series is to help people in the community (students or otherwise) gain a better understanding of various teachers throughout the school, as well as provide an entertaining insight into them as people.
C: Mrs. Wittwer’s classroom at the IAA Annex is known (at least amongst IAA sophomores) for its cozy interior, and relaxed environment. Thus prompting the question: What’s the key to cozy classroom interior design?
A: Well, creating spaces– spaces where you know where to go to get information, spaces where you know you can just hang out and relax, spaces you know you can go work, charge your things. Making sure what you put up on the wall is relevant and has a purpose, and making sure to have something personal of yourself there as well.
C: Such an environment begs the question: What sort of learning environment did your teachers provide you in school?
A: Very different, in high school it was pretty much rows. The desks were rows, everyone at their own desk, in their own row, you never did group work, it was very– not like today. That’s probably why I didn’t like it that much [in high school].
C: Being an English teacher inspired the next question: What is the most interesting concept in language in your opinion?
A: I love the way words change, or how words can have different meanings in different situations. And choosing the right word I think is very crucial to making your points clear.
C: What is something about you that students don’t know about?
A: Something I did in 6th grade to my teacher– me and my friends, we were horrible to her, we were so bad– We put tacks on her chair, I don’t know if she ever sat on them, but we would just mess with her so bad, I feel so bad. And we soaped her car and I got in trouble and the sheriff had to talk to me, yeah it was serious…
C: What type of student/kid were you in high school?
A: I was your typical jock, I was not girly at all. I rarely wore dresses or skirts, it was just sports clothes, and I only cared about sports. That is what got me to do my work and stay eligible, I was not good at math, I was okay in English, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t love reading, that wasn’t until much later. My social life was way more important than my academic life; It was a small school, but I was one of the popular kids– There were only 15 kids in my class, so it was pretty easy.
C: “Trouble students” exist, and most every class has one (or more). This led to another question: What would you like to ask students who seem to always cause trouble?
A: Oh my gosh, I’ve got a class full of them. Um… What can I do to help you be more successful?
C: If you had to listen to a single song on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Oh my god, I’d probably go crazy… Um, how about ‘Talkin Bout a Revolution’ by Tracy Chapman.
C: If you could spend 1 million dollars on any one thing, what would it be?
A: Hm, if I had one million dollars and I could only buy one thing, it would be a piece of property.
C: What are some of your favorite films/TV shows?
A: My favorite film is Princess Bride, a close second is Deadpool. I’ve seen one (the first movie), and we own one, and I’ve probably seen it five times.
C: What is an odd pet-peeve of yours?
A: I cannot stand to put my hands in the creases of couch cushions or chair cushions.
[As far as TV shows:]
Modern Family is great, and Fresh off the Boat.
Jaryn Lasentia, a sophomore in IAA, had a few questions of his own:
JL: What’s your favorite type of tea?
A: Earl gray
JL: What color do you associate with warmth?
JL: What’s your favorite genre of music?
A: Huh, I don’t know the genre, for example the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men (Indie Folk)
JL: Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?
A: Gosh, that’s a hard one, I guess fiction if I’m reading for pleasure.
Catlin Soler, a sophomore who had Witter last year asked: What makes you want to go to school/teach each day?
A: There are certain– I call them “aha!” moments, that I see in kids when something clicks and they get it– Or they’re really excited about something. I want to continue making that happen, or seeing how I can help that happen.